The Law of Karma and the Existence of God
Samkhya Philosophy is one of the philosophies that exerts a profound influence on Indian and Asian cosmology. It is also regarded as one that has the most controversial appreciation in Indian metaphysics. Some ancient influences such as the Baghavadita and Upanishads are tied within the philosophy of Samkhya (Sinha 32b). The major defining aspects of Samkhya are connected to its marked departure from claims of deity and its insistence on the existence on the connection between nature and human action. The Samkhya philosophy locates all essence of reality in the Prankriti (Larson 40), which equates to the unintelligible creative cause. This would imply the power of being and the controller of the universe lies in nature.
The Prakriti according to this philosophy does not have its creator (Sinha 131c). It is uncreated and contains the creative force of all things except the soul. However, the philosophy acknowledges that this form retains a special kind of relationship with different life forms in a way that determined that actual being of the soul. In a complex way, this theory attempts to elaborate the various kinds of laws that determine the relationship between the soul and nature. Nature effectively takes the place of the creative power, as other philosophers would assume of God. In essence, it becomes the ultimate substitute of God (Kumar 56). On the other hand, Purusha takes the place of the individual soul.
This philosophy must work together with the creative qualities of the soul in order to achieve meaning. It is in this regard that the creative element of the soul acquires yet importance significance as a co-creator of reality. Within this conception, it becomes important to consider the Purusha as part and parcel of nature’s creative force. It might be argued that the natural creative abilities are only brought out in terms of some coordination between the forces the two coordinates. According to the fundamental tenets of the principle, the creative force is governed by 24 principles (Sinha 47a). These principles must work together in creative harmony in order to achieve the ultimate creative force that would be requires to produce meaningful results.
The different qualities of these principles, according to these principles, would in turn produce the necessary creative power that would enable the systems of creation. Remarkably, the philosophy sought to assemble all the creative abilities usually reserved for the deities to the two creative forces. The creative forces include Mahat, which they equate to the great principle. This particular one could effectively take over the assumed position of the deities as the creative forces of the universe. This would mean that the creative abilities have been exempted from all possible deities and assigned to the combination between Purusha and Prankiti. It would be necessary to consider this special aspect of power as the ultimate power that moves things resides in the combination between these two deities. Some of the issues that are normally associated to the deities include matters of omnipotence and omnipresence.
Other matters that relate to the will of God and his powerful potential are equally captured within the creative abilities as brought out in some of the attributes that the Samkhya philosophy attaches to the deity. It might be assumed that the deities have effectively captured part of the creative potential of the Gods. It would be appropriate to assume that the issues that the Samkhya religion addresses directly attaches to the issues of creation. Matters about infinity are addressed ways that relate closely with the claims of other religions and bodies of knowledge but differ by ways of factual representations.
Determining the connection between other explanations on the existence of God with Hindu philosophy could provide resourceful associations about the existence of God. It is important to consider the fact some of the issues that relate to the central tenets have very close relations with other arguments that attempt the same. In general terms, the many different arguments are in harmony concerning the existence of some fundamental force. Another important aspect in all the various arguments is that they attempt to locate the destiny of man and the nature of the soul.
While other philosophical arguments link the control of the soul to some kind of supreme control. Samkhya categorically denies such claims instead providing explanations about the indestructible nature of the soul. This would imply that the various aspects of the soul must be represented within the major arguments as established in the central concerns. In this manner, the approaches differ while the major concerns concur. Perhaps it would be appropriate to investigate whether there exist a missing explanation that explains in great details the mysteries that give force and harmony to this creative force. Such power should unite the all other elements of these philosophies in a harmonious continuum.
Such a harmonious existence should be investigated together with the possibility of the existence of any weaknesses that could hint at any internal disharmonies and weaknesses. In the event of any presence of such weaknesses, then one possible conclusion could be that the great force might have a greater cause who could be God. In such a manner, it becomes necessary to investigate some of the claims that have been adduced to explain the possible fallibilities of this deity. The first is that it falls into the trap of other philosophies that tend to insist on the possibility of an uncaused cause. The uncaused cause, which the Samkhya philosophy equates to the combination between nature and the supreme creator, is the vital force that gives vitality to all that is being.
An acknowledgement of a greater power in itself provides the most decisive break from any arguments that seeks to negate the presence of God. This philosophy would, in fact feed and fit into other philosophies that seek to equate God and nature. To many of philosophers the power and presence of God is to be found in the presence and forces of nature. This would be, indeed consistent with the Samkhya’s philosophy that seeks to equate the five elements of water, fire, earth, ether, air, to Mahabbhutas.
Although this philosophy attempts to reduce the destiny of man to the logical connection between man and nature, it still leaves grey areas as to the place of human will and his connection to the very nature. Further, it does not explain the discrepancies that occur between man and nature and, which defy the scheme of things in the universe. On this score, the philosophy would give room for the explanation of the presence of a Greater Being whose natural characteristics would be equal to God. This explanation would then empty the philosophy of its power to defend the lack of a God. An interesting aspect of the philosophy lies in the belief in the existence of the immortality of the soul (Buley 66). The philosophy acknowledges that soul existed before any other things and that it will continue to exist. As such, the immortal nature of the soul challenges the possibility of God since no being can create that which is immortal.
It follows, therefore, that the Samkhya philosophy effectively dislodges all arguments for the existence of the soul. If such a thing were possible, other philosophers have argued that its real nature would be ultimately indeterminate. This would mean that the firm claim professed by Samkhya about the real nature of the soul would be either incomplete or outright not factual. As such it would be argued that much of the arguments brought out by the Samphya could only be compared to other arguments in order to provide a multiplicity of perspectives but not as a complete argument for the presence or absence of God. Ultimately, it would be added that the Samkhya philosophy remains both neutral and unequivocal t the metaphysical question of whether or not God exists. In essence, the question for or non-existence of God would then remain marred in multiple philosophical interpretations with strengths and weaknesses.
Samkhya represents some element of perfection as relates matters of knowledge. Its power lies in the combination of the ideal and the real. It actively advocates for knowledge about the fundamental aspects of reality. On this perspective, it tends to contradict the tenets of creation, which leans largely on belief as opposed to other systems of knowledge. It is on this account that it may be qualified as theoretically opposed to the existence of a Supreme Being even as it emphasizes on the creative power within its power. Philosophically, the belief in God must go alongside the belief in the supernatural aspects of the maker. However, Samkhya appears to emphasize more on the natural qualities of the Supreme Being or the creative force as opposed to the supernatural powers.
The clash between the supernatural and the natural would automatically imply Samkhya’s opposition to Gods creative potential. One of the defining aspects of Samkhya is that its application necessarily ties in with the Yoga philosophy. According to some philosophers, Yoga is the kinetic element of Samkhya. Yoga makes the whole philosophy operational. Yoga works by providing the practical and spiritual means by which humans could connect to the creative powers as provides in the Samkhya thinking.
However, there is also a sense in which the philosophy of Samkhya appears to tie in with alternative philosophies, which also profess in perfect force. One would link it with the Hegelian concept of dialectical movement. The movement from the thesis to the antithesis and finally to a synthesis is regularly considered as Hegel’s conception of God as the final element of Perfect Knowledge. Since Hegel offered such a possibility in the existence of God, then it would naturally follow that Samkhya arguments are also suggestive of the existence of the deity.
Another interesting knowledge turn of Samkhya is its opposition to the ideals of science by denying the creative power of atoms. According to this philosophy, the atoms are so rough as to mould anything that is subtle. On this account, Samkhya contests the fact that the atoms are the primary building blocks of anything that exists. Such qualities can only exist in the Prakiti; the subtlest of all things and the most unintelligible (Keith 121). By this argument, Samkhya contests the central scientific claim about creation. Therefore, it denies both the religious aspect of a creative deity and scientific tenets of the same. Some thinkers contend that Samkhya offers the middle ground alternative. Be refuting both claims of science, Samkhya effectively centers the Prakiti as the creative force of all things. It also ties the values of love, ignorance, and others into some aspect of the Prakiti.
However, Samkhya does not go far beyond portraying the Prakiti as the creative element of all things. Instead, the argument stops at assigning some general concepts of creation to the Prakiti. In fact, some philosophers argue that the Samkhya actually challenges other alternative definitions that have sought to establish separate alternative forces of creation. It seeks to replace alternative claims about the creative force by offering convincing and factual arguments that are backed by syllogistic and logical claims. In this manner, it fills in the gaps left by other religions about the possibility of a creative force. Logically, it challenges unsubstantiated arguments about such matters. One of the claims that have been made with regard to the Prakiti is that it contains both the constructive and destructive abilities of all things. Instead, it promotes the idea of separate powers that operate on various levels with each power being assigned to complete some specific task.
On this level, it might be important to consider some of the claims that have been made by Prakiti as the alternative equivalents of God. It would be important to consider some of the basic tenets made in the Samkhya philosophy as fundamental to the general Asian conception of reality (Collins 93). Along this line of thought, some thinkers have argued that some of the major Asian philosophies are essentially guided or infused with the philosophies of the Samkhya. In some respect, it could be argued that the philosophies of the Samkhya represents a cultural shift from the western philosophical thought as reflected in the dominant Judeo-Christian beliefs and other ancient regions that were foreign to the Asian cosmology.
The Prakiti works in complex ways that represent the numerical aspects of nature. By sticking to the numerical aspects, it might be argued that Samkhya defies all beliefs. Nearly all bodies of knowledge, religious and metaphysics attach some aspect of belief in the existence of God. Only a few have attempted to make a decisive break by attempting, by pragmatic means, to explain the essence of God or ultimate creator. On this score, it follows that the Prakiti is essentially opposed to all possibilities about the existence of a supreme being. As such the Samkhya seems to make a cautious argument about the existence of some supreme forces without actually reducing such forces into a God (Garbe 67; Joshi 78). In this way, it might be argued that the Samkhya appears to propose some alternative creative forces beyond those proposed by science and beyond those advocated by the laws of science. There still remains various unexplained areas in its alternative proposition because the manner of existence of the original force; the Prakiti still remains as puzzling as the original forces claimed in both religion and science.
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Collins, Randal. The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change. Harvard: Harvard University Press, 2000.
Garbe, Richard. The Philosophy Of Ancient India. New York: Kessinger Publishing, 2004
Joshi, Dinkar. Glimpses Of Indian Culture. London: Star Publications, 2005.
Keith, Arthur, B. The Samkhya System, a History of the Samkhya Philosophy. London: Hard Press, 2012.
Kumar, Raj. Essays on Indian Philosophy. New York: Discovery Publishing House, 2003.
Larson, Gerald, J. Classical Sānkhya: An Interpretation of Its History and Meaning. New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1998
Sinha, Nandalal. The Samkhya Philosophy. New York: Kessinger Publishing, 2010
Sinha, Nandalal. The Samkhya Philosophy; Containing Samkhya-Pravachana Sutram, with the Vritti of Aniruddha, and the Bhasya of Vijnana Bhiksu and Extracts. New York: General Books LLC, 2009.
Sinha, Phulgenda. Samkhya karika of Kapila: rediscovering the original text of Samkhya philosophy. New York: India Heritage Press, 2000
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